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The Assassins' Ga...
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The Assassins' Gate by George Packer
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Cities and the Wealth of Nations by Jane Jacobs
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Jane Jacobs loves cities. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, written in the Sixties, she blasted urban-redesign efforts that were based on the assumption that people actually didn't like cities and would prefer to live in the country ...more
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Sick by Jonathan Cohn
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Cohn follows lots of people who've been screwed by the U.S. health-insurance system. Rich or poor, employed or not, it doesn't seem to matter: if you come upon hard times, the system will screw you. Cohn argues -- by example more than by axiom -- ...more
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A Future for Socialism by John E. Roemer
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Lays out the case for "market socialism," whereby most
functions are left to the market but centralized control
is added in where helpful. A clear, well-thought-out
vision without the slightest chance of ever becoming
reality.
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Passions Within Reason by Robert H. Frank
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Argues that even if you accept the premise that people are
selfish maximizers of their own utility, it does not
follow that every action they perform is selfish. Being
altruistic can, in fact, guarantee your long-term well-being
-- virtue really is
...more
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World War Z by Max Brooks
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Imagine that a plague of zombiehood has befallen the
entire world, turning the vast majority of your neighbors
into bloodless braaaaiiiiinnnnnsss-eaters. Now be very
specific about how, exactly, the world would respond --
how unprepared we'd all be,
...more
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The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner
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Using Peter and Rosemary Grant's annual studies on
the Galapagos Islands as a jumping-off point,
fleshes out the idea that Darwin didn't begin to
understand the power of his own theory. Evolution happens
on short, observable, human-sized time
...more
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Microeconomics by Samuel Bowles
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Uses the fairly recently-developed (1970's) tools of
evolutionary game theory (specifically evolutionarily
stable strategies) to study more-realistic economic
situations than what we normally learn in Econ 101. Bowles
demolishes the idea that a
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The Social Sources of Denominationalism by H. Richard Niebuhr
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Despite the academic-sounding title, this is a passionate
work. It argues that the distinct Christian churches
(Lutheran, Presbyterian, Catholic, ad infinitum) prove the
church's ethical failure. Sects form because existing
churches become an
...more
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Evolution and the Theory of Games by John Maynard Smith
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This is a founding work of evolutionary game theory. It
introduces the evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) --
namely, the game-theoretic strategy which, if played,
cannot be invaded by any rival strategy. Maynard Smith
used this to answer lots of
...more
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